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QANTAS: Stands down 2,500 Crew, but Takes subsidy from Government

QANTAS: Stands down 2,500 Crew, but Takes subsidy from Government

Qantas and Jetstar are standing down 2,500 employees for two months in a temporary measure caused by the lockdowns in NSW. Stood downs staff will be drawn from domestic pilots, cabin crew and airport workers, mostly in New South Wales.

The stand-downs will take effect in 2 weeks, and will see the employees stood down for 2 months which will take us through to October 2021. Looks like I can kiss goodbye to me

Not job losses

Qantas is accenting that these are not job losses. Employees will have two weeks’ notice (presumably with pay) before the stand-down takes effect, so no pay after mid-August. This works for Qantas, as they can quickly lay-on staff when the lockdown’s cease. Not so good for employees, who are sort of held in limbo, still employed, but with no income.

Not Job Keeper

Eligible employees should be able to pick up the Federal Governments disaster payments – you know the one that isn’t Job Keeper, but looks very similar.

‘We’ve absorbed a significant amount of cost since these recent lockdowns started and continued paying our people their full rosters despite thousands of cancelled flights.’

Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO
a group of people wearing face masks

NSW Lockdown – another 2 months according to Joyce

Joyce is not optimistic about the length of the lockdown in NSW either:

‘Based on current case numbers, it’s reasonable to assume that Sydney’s borders will be closed for at least another two months. We know it will take a few weeks once the outbreak is under control before other states open to New South Wales and normal travel can resume.’

Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO

Gladys-Beryl (our NSW Premier) will be pleased about that.

However, he is hopeful about the Queensland outbreak being controlled:

‘Hopefully, once other states open back up to South Australia and Victoria in the next week or so, and the current outbreak in Brisbane is brought under control, our domestic flying will come back to around 50 to 60 per cent of normal levels.’

Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO

Government support announced

Yesterday, Monday 2 August the federal government announced airlines may claim $750 a week for 50% of their pilots and flight attendants (air-crew) but they have to show a 30% downturn since Sydney was classified as a COVID-19 hotspot.

Australian airlines including Qantas have received massive subsidies during the pandemic, exceeding a billion dollars. As some have pointed out, it might have been more strategic to give them the money they (particularly Virgin before it went into administration) asked for at the beginning and taken an ownership stake! At least that way, the government would have some hope of earning some of the money back, even if just as future dividends.

International flights – a long way off

According to the federal government’s 4 stage plan to get Australia through the pandemic, international travel doesn’t re-commence in full before 80% of Australians over 16 are vaccinated, which is not expected until early 2022.

‘The challenge around opening international borders remains. There are still several thousand Qantas and Jetstar crew who normally fly internationally and who have been on long periods of stand down since the pandemic began. Higher vaccination rates are also key to being able to fly overseas again, and finally getting all our people back to work.’

Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO

I have a bet that the trans-Tasman bubble will be open again by the end of November (fingers crossed).

a seat in an airplane

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

Looks like I can kiss goodbye to my trips to Adelaide in mid-September and Melbourne in the 2nd week of October then.

Qantas and other airlines have certainly suffered greatly throughout the pandemic, despite massive government support. Let’s face it, Virgin Australia effectively went broke.

My heart goes out to these employees who are to be stood down, but unfortunately this is probably the only call Joyce could make, given he is already burdened with a 2 billion dollar loss. I have a feeling this will not be the end of the bad news.

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